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‘If farm goes ahead, we’ll be surrounded by wind turbines’

A Yorkshire Wolds wind farm inquiry hangs on environmental concerns after the MoD withdrew its objection relating to the impact on radar.

East Riding Council refused planning permission, saying the Thornholme Field development would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape and on the setting of Burton Agnes Hall.

Initially, the council was supported in its objection by the Ministry of Defence, which had concerns about the turbines’ impact on radar operated from Staxton Wold.

That problem has now been overcome and the objection withdrawn.

As the inquiry started this week, a spokesman for the applicant, Wind Prospect Development Ltd, said: “The Thornholme Field wind farm proposal is a well designed and appropriately sited wind farm.

“We believe proposals such as Thorn- holme Field Wind Farm are vital in the Humber area’s drive to develop the renewable sector, including wind energy, and provide local business opportunities.”

Campaigners bitterly opposed to the scheme had welcomed last month’s Government announcement of a change in guidance for wind farm applications.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote to all councils and the Planning Inspectorate, saying residents’ concerns and environmental considerations would be given more weight and applications were more likely to be rejected.

But no new guidelines have been produced and East Riding Council has said the application will still to be decided under the old rules.

Six months ago, a similar inquiry, also at Bridlington Town Hall, gave permission for an eight-turbine development at Fraisthorpe, overlooking Bridlington Bay.

Objector Garry Burt, of Burton Agnes, was to address the hearing today.

He said: “If the Thornholme Field development goes ahead, the local community will not be able to go in any direction without being confronted by industrial- sized turbine arrays – never mind the individual ‘farm’ turbines spreading like measles over our landscape.

“If this wind farm goes ahead, it will mean that there will be more than 40 industrial-sized turbines within a two-mile radius.

“If this is not an unacceptable cumulative effect, one has to ask what is.

“Let us be under no illusions. The whole point of this application is nothing to do with green credentials or generating power. It is about generating cash, and as much of it as possible, which means getting as many turbines onto a piece of land as they can get away with.”

The inquiry at Bridlington Town Hall is being chaired by planning inspector Paul Griffiths.

He was the inspector who gave the go- ahead for Eon’s three-turbine development at Tedder Hill, near Roos.

That inquiry was held in October 2009 after East Riding Council had turned down the initial application.

It was one of several successful appeals, which have cost the authority hundreds of thousands of pounds.